posted on March 08, 2010 18:00
A review of the album 'It's Blitz!' by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Review Snapshot: Have Karen O’s NY art-rock knuckleheads sold their guitars and bought turntables?
The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10
It’s not quite actually. It might have been a title worth a (mild) chortle if that were the case. However if you’re already a fan it could be your initial reaction. Those familiar with their brash and rattling sound, roughly cut between the dusty granite canyons of New York and inspired by the “avant-punk” of sultry lead singer Karen O’s Ohio, may feel this lightning bolt of an album singe their senses and offend their rock sensibilities.
It is an alien discomfort, the reverse to seeing your beloved nerdy bestest-friend you used to play war-games with come home from college recast as a woman-melting Don Juan. In "It’s Blitz!" the band pump voltage into their previous experimentation with studio sorcery.
TV On The Radio magi Dave Sitek is tossed into the blender as producer. As for Nick Zinner, to some the “best guitarist in rock’n’roll right now”, out goes his ogrish six-string (almost). Instead he wields a dizzying array of bleeps, blips and synth sound waves, unrecognisable to Zinner’s early frustrated guitar licks: all fuzz, dirt and restrained sexual energy.
This continues a recent neon-streaked trend. Jumping the packed bandwagon that recently rolled out of an 80s wormhole with La Roux et al, Karen O unveils her love of the Giorgio Moroder-mastered disco of Donna Summer. Funky opener Zero, an essensual (eh, is that clever? How otherwise does a language evolve) new party tune, and Dragon Queen ecstatically demonstrate her penchant for dance and orgasmic screeching.
Just as the buzz-cut commentary of Dull Life and Shame and Fortune hint at recidivism and a return to guitar, the album zaps back into a mix of I Was A Cubscout-esque soft electronic balladry that the YYY’s hinted to in the past with the likes of Dudley.
The band continue their creative ascension with closer Little Shadow. Although it’s not the immediately accessible, sand-blasted diamond of their earlier garage racket, the band ask you to “follow” Karen and co as they climb that “ladder to the sun”, exploring the bionically-boosted vestigial reaches of their talent.
Lead single Zero could prove a catchy call-to-arms for a new generation of electro-punks to get their disco-rock “leather on” and the striking album cover is sure to go down as an important still in the great TV wall of noughties’ images. The painted-nail fist crushing the egg is powerful and ludicrous, perhaps symbolic of the band’s sound: shopping feminine strength to male brutality and creating a luscious over-kill of noise.